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Club News

Stadium FAQs Part 3

A third set of FAQs around our promosed new stadium

9 March 2022

Club News

Stadium FAQs Part 3

A third set of FAQs around our promosed new stadium

9 March 2022

Oxford United will continue to answer questions on plans for a new stadium via a series of FAQs from fans and stakeholders.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation and provided feedback. We are delighted that officers are recommending that Oxford County Council authorise permission to negotiate an In Principle Agreement with the club at their meeting on the 15th March. We strongly believe that our aspirations for the site can not only meet, but significantly exceed the priorities of Oxfordshire’s Fair Deal Alliance and this decision will form an important first step in securing the future of a much loved community asset, one that is anchored in the heart of Oxfordshire’s sporting and cultural legacy.

Despite this latest news, we know that fans, local residents and other stakeholders are still very interested in the club’s proposals for a new stadium and want to hear more information from us on key topics.

It is imperative that this is understood to be initial, speculative thoughts on how the club will look to proceed with its proposals should the County Council agree to proceed with the lease on Stratfield Brake.

If the County Council does choose to proceed on the 15th March, the site would still be subject to the planning process including full public consultation and therefore we are not in a position to be able to make definitive commitments at this stage but wanted to provide some of our initial thoughts.

Whilst these are not firm proposals, if given permission to proceed, we are committed to upholding these principles throughout the formulation of our proposals and will seek to make them binding, and linked to planning approval (should we receive it) once we are in a position to do so.

1.What will happen to the sports facilities currently in place at Stratfield Brake?
Oxford United are committed to re-providing any community sports facilities that are displaced as a result of the proposed development. Our commitment goes further than this – we commit to providing the replacement facilities required prior to the commencement of the development, in equivalent or better quality, and of equivalent or greater quantity, in a suitable location, and subject to equivalent or better accessibility and management arrangements.

We have already held discussions with Kidlington Youth Football, Gosford All Blacks, Kidlington Cricket Club, the running club the governing bodies of cricket, football and rugby and with Sport England. This is a fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity to boost community sports in the Kidlington area.

Oxford United have a vested interest in sport and the health and the wellbeing of the Oxfordshire community whether they are fans of the club or not and we expect the community stadium project to be a catalyst for improved sporting facilities both on and off the Stratfield Brake site. We are already talking to the local schools and various land owners regarding new and improved sports facilities in the area.

2.If existing sports pitches at Stratfield Brake have to be moved, where will they be moved to?
Whilst we are at a very early stage, our current thinking envisages that some of the replacement sports pitches will be located in the triangular area of land east of Stratfield Brake, with a combined green cycle/pedestrian walkway connecting the two sites up with Oxford Parkway station. Built up space will be kept to a minimum in this location to ensure connectivity of the green spaces south of Kidlington. Landscaping will be key and sympathetically designed with plenty of planting as this will be the entrance from Oxford Parkway to the main site. Should we get the go ahead to proceed, we will continue our constructive discussions with existing users and ensure we work in partnership with them in defining our proposals for any replacement facilities.

3.Who will meet the running and maintenance costs of the new community sports provision?
Should the project progress then OUFC commits to working with the local clubs and all other users for the maintenance of any new sports fields, which will save the Parish Council and Kidlington/Gosford and Water Eaton residents considerable costs. Oxford United have the staff, equipment and expertise to help manage the annual maintenance for the replacement sports fields and facilities to the highest standards. We very much view any future model to be a partnership approach, working with each club and their governing bodies, to develop club and facility business cases to ensure that any reprovision of facilities will enable the clubs to run sustainably, generating their own income to allow for future growth.

For example, Gosford All Blacks can not get access to grant funding at this present time due to the nature of their set up at Stratfield Brake. Oxford United aim to provide security of tenure for the community sports clubs so they can access further funding, grant money and financial support for their long term future sustainable operations.

4. Will the existing sports clubs at Stratfield Brake have a say in the development proposals?
OUFC are committed to regular discussions with all key stakeholders at Stratfield Brake. As stated above, we are passionate about sport in general and believe in the transformational nature it can have for local communities and residents. We believe that this potential project is not just about football, it is about giving the community a once in a lifetime opportunity to have access to international-class, iconic facilities. Our aim is to work with the whole community, including the clubs at Stratfield Brake, who will have an opportunity to give feedback and input into the design of a new stadium which we can all be equally proud of, and which benefits not just OUFC but all local stakeholders.

5.How will the new stadium benefit local residents who aren’t OUFC fans?
At present OUFC are very limited to what we can do at the Kassam Stadium for the community, as we are limited to using the stadium for 1stteam matches only. However, a new community stadium could provide a fantastic community asset for the local area.

The stadium could be used during non-match-days for school tours, sports education, women’s football, community meetings and offer a hub for the community to meet. There would be community access to professionally operated, high quality community sport, health and wellbeing facilities.

The outdoor fan zone could be used for markets, entertainment, local gatherings of all kinds and the indoor facilities such as meeting rooms, halls, bars, cafes and education spaces will benefit the wider community.

Furthermore, we have plans to increase our work with the Cherwell Food Larder and build on our valuable partnerships with local schools. The stadium will also provide a home for the Oxford United in the Community Trust which supports both the younger and older generations of Oxfordshire and those with disabilities, using the power of football and sport in general to inspire the communities of Oxfordshire.

The Trust’s work has positive impacts for their health, wellbeing, self-confidence, and forwarding opportunities through the provision of services and resources for the young and old generations of Kidlington and wider Oxfordshire.

6.How will the new stadium benefit the local economy?
The scheme would support Oxfordshire’s economic recovery from Covid-19 and contribute towards innovative and highly sustainable green economic growth.

Employment opportunities would also be developed, with the new stadium and enabling development providing an estimated 800+ new jobs. The scheme would strengthen the growth of the business visitor economy in Oxfordshire by providing new conference facilities, hospitality and short stay accommodation.

Furthermore, the facilities that come with elite and community sport would boost education and innovation.

The development would also secure long term income for the council from the ground lease, business rates to direct and indirect spending, maximising benefits to the local community and businesses within Oxfordshire.

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